Mon 27 Aug 2012
The background on that whole crazy “locks on pedestrian bridges” thing:
Symbols of undying love — though not in the view of Parisians — adorn Pont de l’Archevêché, in front of Notre Dame.
PARISIANS can’t remember when it all began. At first, the appearance of the locks was nearly imperceptible. Soon, though, they felt like a statement. On some of the city’s most iconic bridges, thousands of visitors left small padlocks, neatly attached to the metal railings.
Once discreet, doing their deed at night, visitors soon acted in broad daylight, in pairs, photographing each other in front of their locks, and videotaping the throwing of the keys into the Seine. The Paris town hall expressed concern: what about the architectural integrity of the Parisian landscape? One night about two years ago, someone cut through the wires and removed all the locks on one of the bridges. But in just a few months, locks of all sizes and colors reappeared, more conspicuous than ever.
We discussed this almost daily while in Paris. Such a font of conversation topics, from the madness of crowds, the meaning of love, which side of the bridge is more popular and why the choice matters, and if there was any symbolism to the bike locks we saw chained in front of the ecole maternelle near our house.